Red Sox among four teams interested in Francisco Cordero

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UPDATE: Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that Cordero would prefer to return to the Reds.

8:15 PM: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported earlier this afternoon that the Red Sox have “increased dialogue” with free agent closer Francisco Cordero. Alex Speier of WEEI.com hears similar information from his sources, but he was also told by Cordero’s agent, Bean Stringfellow, that his list of potential destinations has been narrowed down to four teams who are willing to give multi-year contracts.

“With the interest we’ve received, we’ve been exploring multi-year deals and we’re very confident that’s where we’re going to end up,” said Stringfellow. “The teams that we’ve spoken to, none of them have balked at that of the four remaining clubs.”

Stringfellow wouldn’t confirm the specific teams involved, but Speier writes that the Red Sox, Reds and Angels are believed to be interested. The Reds declined Cordero’s $12 million option for 2012 in late-October, but are interested in bringing the veteran right-hander back at a lesser annual salary.

Cordero, who turns 37 in May, posted a 2.35 ERA and 37 saves in 43 chances this past season, but he also had the lowest strikeout rate and velocity of his career. He at least adapted by increasing his ground ball rate and cutting back on the free passes, but a lucrative multi-year deal could be a big risk.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.